Minnesotans depend heavily on their vehicles to take them everywhere. Driving means putting up with traffic jams, distracted or impaired drivers, and the ever-changing Minnesota weather. Sometimes these challenges result in accidents. They often happen out of nowhere and could leave you and your family reeling from the impact. If you have experienced a sudden car accident, consider speaking with one of the personal injury attorneys from Heller & Thyen, P.A. as soon as you are able. We are here to help you through this tough time.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
So, why do car crashes happen in the first place?
Car accidents can be caused by a wide variety of issues, including part defects, bad weather, and unsafe road conditions. Aside from vehicle maintenance and practicing safe driving techniques, drivers can’t control these external factors. They can, however, do something about distracted driving, which is one of the main causes of car accidents.
Driving is an inherently dangerous activity so driving while distracted significantly increases the chances a driver will make a mistake and cause an accident. Some of the activities that frequently lead to distracted driving include:
- Being lost in thought, or driving on autopilot
- Using a smartphone in general
- Talking to or paying attention to passengers
- Gazing out the windows at scenery
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming oneself
- Watching videos
- Physical impairment
The bottom line? Resist the urge to multitask while behind the wheel if you want to avoid getting into a car accident.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Car Accident Case?
Many aspects of your life can be affected by a car accident. A car accident lawyer can help you get compensation for a number of damages, including:
- Medical and rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages and loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Property damage
What to Do After a Car Accident
First, make sure that the cars involved in the accident are moved out of danger if this is possible. If you are on a busy highway or street, make sure everyone is away from passing cars. Take photographs of the vehicles in their original position, the damage to each vehicle and skid marks on the road if there are any visible.
Call the police and, if needed, ask for an ambulance if anyone is injured.
Make contact with the other driver and exchange personal information, including insurance and driver’s license information. You can take a photo of the information to make sure everything is accurate. Take photographs of the license plate of the other car.
If the other driver is agitated or threatening, do not engage in an argument or other contact. Wait for the police to arrive and make sure that you explain to the officer how the accident happened.
Get the contact information of any witnesses, including telephone numbers. Ask them what they saw and who they thought was at fault. An independent witness will be extremely important if the cause of the accident is at all unclear. Ask the witness to speak with the officer if they are willing to wait for them to arrive. If they cannot or will not stay, provide the contact information to the police officer so they can make contact later.
If anyone in the accident complains of an injury, seek immediate medical attention. Don’t wait; go straight to the hospital or urgent care. This will document your injuries. Even if the accident wasn’t serious, if you are in any sort of pain, get evaluated by a doctor as soon as you can as many people underestimate the extent of their injuries because the accident causes an adrenaline rush. Delaying treatment creates an opportunity for insurance companies to argue that your injuries resulted from another some other mishap.
The following specific actions will preserve your legal rights and help you to recover:
- Ask the police officer to write up a report. Be sure to ask for a copy for your records.
- Collect evidence right after the accident. Get detailed contact information from every person involved, including names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. Also, take photos of the accident scene. Consider keeping any broken vehicle parts.
- Don’t admit liability, as this could prevent you from filing a claim. Exercise caution when speaking to those involved in the crash, witnesses, and insurance representatives.
- Call a car accident attorney. These legal experts can assess and build a case while helping you comprehend the law as it relates to your situation. Retaining an experienced lawyer is the most beneficial thing you can do when trying to obtain compensation.
At Heller & Thyen, P.A., we work with and represent clients who have suffered all sorts of injuries resulting from car accidents. Our St. Cloud lawyers can review your case thoroughly, give practical suggestions for how to move forward, and help you fully understand your legal rights. Call us today for a free consultation!